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Re-thinking the Role of Hand Gestures During Communication

November 8, 2023 @ 7:00 pm 8:00 pm


Hand gestures are clearly not random movements; they are movements that often accompany the
spoken modality and are communicative devices. Gestures and spoken output often exhibit
semantic, pragmatic and temporal synchrony (McNeill, 1985; Kelly 2010). However, the role of
gestures during language production has not been well understood and gestures are often assigned
a compensatory role. This webinar will aim to discuss the types and the functions of hand gestures.

It will discuss the stages of development of gestures in children, and the nature of the gesture-
spoken language relationship in children and adults with or without communication impairments.

Further, it will aim to illustrate the clinical value of gestures both as a diagnostic marker as well
as a tool for intervention.


Mili Mathew is an Associate Professor in the department of Communication Sciences and Disorders
at Emerson College, Boston. She graduated from the All India Institute of Speech and Hearing
(AIISH), India, with a Ph.D. in Speech Language Pathology. She completed a research fellowship at
the Child Language Lab at Macquaire University, Australia. Mili has over 15 years of experience in
academia, both in India and the US. She teaches various courses that focus on adult neurogenic
disorders and AAC. Her research focuses on the role of gestures, culture, and language in
neurotypical individuals (children as well as adults) and in individuals with neurogenic
communication disorders.

MODERATED BY: Betsy Caporale, M.S., CCC-SLP

SLPs who are USSAAC/ISAAC members may have their participation in this webinar reported for

ASHA CEUs at no charge. Non-members must pay a $25 reporting fee.

This course is offered for 0.1 ASHA CEUs (Introductory level; Professional area)


  1. Discuss the different types of hand gestures
  2. Describe the relationship between gestures and language
  3. Evaluate how gestures can influence current clinical practices


  • 5 minutes: Introduction of speaker, USSAAC and topic
  • 10 minutes: Introduction to hand gestures and their functions
  • 15 minutes: Gestures in children and their role in language development and learning
  • 20 minutes: The relationship between gestures and language in children and adults with communication impairments
  • 5 minutes: Wrap Up
  • 5 minutes: Q and A

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) CEUs in speech-language pathology and
audiology are awarded by the ASHA CE Registry upon receipt of the CEU Participant Form from the ASHA
Approved CE Provider, USSAAC. ASHA CEUs are provided to full registrations. This program is offered for
.1 ASHA CEUs (Introductory Level, Professional Area)

ASHA Disclosures:

  • Speaker
    • Financial:
      • Mill Matthew has no financial disclosures to report
    • Non-financial:
      • Mill Matthew is a member of USSAAC’s Education Committee
  • Moderator
    • Financial:
      • Betsy Caporale has no financial disclosures to report
    • Non-financial
      • Betsy Caporale serves on the board of USSAAC

PLEASE NOTE: Only the first 150 attendees to log into
the webinar will be guaranteed spots.

Follow Us: @USSAAC #USSAAChat

Contact Us: membership@ussaac.org

Join Us: USSAAC.org/membership


Betsy Caporale, Richard Hurtig, Sharon Redmon, Wendy Quach

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